[Gunner’s Classic Corner] Pontiac Race Cars Pound the Pavement in Wichita

POCI Race GTO Wagon

Pontiac and Studebaker race cars pounded the asphalt in Wichita during the June 16-21 Pontiac club (www.poci.org) convention. Studebakers?  Well, the ’53 Studie coupe had a rare intake on its ’58 Pontiac engine. The hardware was purchased in ’63 from Pontiac racer Arnie “Farmer” Beswick.

Other Pontiac racing cars on display at the Hyatt-Regency Century II ranged from a bare-bones ’57 Catalina to the real deal Hot Chief 2 that was on the Royal Pontiac team that GTO daddy Jim Wangers belonged to. Wangers drove the 4-speed Hot Chief 1 to NHRA championships while the Hot Chief 2 ran in the automatic class and made it into the finals.

Parts supplier Ames Performance  (www.amesperf.com) hosted “Ames Night” and the Cow Town Museum on June 18 and there was Pontiac drag racing at Kansas International Dragway on Friday evening, The other Pontiac drag stars in Wichita included a 421 Super-Duty Tempest, the GTO Roper, a blue Tempest that Hayden Profit supposedly drove, the Mystery Tornado ’64 GTO, the ’58 Warrior and the 1962 Motor Trend Super-Duty Catalina test car.

Club editor Don Keefe said his Smoke Signals magazine is trying to step step up and fill the vacuum left by the recent disappearance of High Performance Pontiac magazine. President Merle Green, Jr. announced that the 43rd Annual POCI Convention would take place July 21-25, 2015 in Louisville, Ken.

About John Gunnell 141 Articles
John “Gunner” Gunnell has been writing about cars since ‘72. As a kid in Staten Island, N.Y., he played with a tin Marx “Service Garage” loaded with toy vehicles, his favorite being a Hubley hot rod. In 2010, he opened Gunner’s Great Garage, in Manawa, Wis., a shop that helps enthusiasts restore cars. To no one’s surprise, he decorated 3G’s with tin gas stations and car toys. Gunner started writing for two car club magazines. In 1978, publisher Chet Krause hired him at Old Cars Weekly, where he worked from 1978-2008. Hot rodding legend LeRoi “Tex” Smith was his boss for a while. Gunner had no formal journalism training, but working at a weekly quickly taught him the trade. Over three decades, he’s met famous collectors, penned thousands of articles and written over 85 books. He lives in Iola, Wis., with his nine old cars, three trucks and seven motorcycles.

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